Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: The Typing Coach

The Typing Coach
I never took typing when I was in school.  I use a computer every day and of course have to type to write this blog.  But I do not type accurately ( I have to use back space a lot!) and I have to look at the keys when I am typing.  I was happy to have an opportunity to review The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach.

The Typing Coach

To complete the Typing Coach Online Typing Course  you need to have internet access, some type of word processing software on your computer (I use a free Open Office program), the PDF printout of the Student Packet and Learning Checks, and a keyboard to type on.  Lessons are given via audio and some videos on the website and you type into your word processor as the instructor is talking. You also will be typing things that are on the printout.  It is suggested that you cover your monitor so you cannot look at the screen while typing.  I just used a piece of paper to do this.

This course has to be completed in order from top to bottom. You start the course by reading through a course introduction and taking a visual tour of the course.  Then you take a Before and After Snapshot that has you type out the Gettysburg Address in 3 minutes.  Next you have series of lessons.  The first lesson is on Good Posture and has a video to watch and audio to listen to.   The next lesson teaches the home row of keys. Lesson 3 teaches the top row and lesson 4 the bottom row.  Lesson 5 teaches the Shift Keys and Lesson 6 is typing practice.  Lesson 7 teaches the number row.  After those lessons there is one with serious practicing, then a final assessment, and a conclusion.  There is an option to follow a slower paced lesson plan for students who made need to work at a slower pace.  It is a self paced course and can vary in the amount of time it takes to master one of the lessons. The lessons are less then 30 minutes and include time for some stretch breaks.  The cost of the course is $17 for a one year subscription.

After the lessons you visit the Practice and Testing Center to take your learning checks or typing test.  Here you type your assignment and will get a report showing your words per minute, number of errors, and the amount of time you were typing.

I started with the course introduction.  I watched the 4 min visual tour of the course and the 30 minutes video that explains the whole process. The 30 minute video gives good information, but  it does not show any close ups of the screen making it hard to see what is being explained. But the course is very easy to follow.  You just start at the top and work your way down.

The typing instruction is given in a clear easy to follow manner.  It is systematic and very straight forward. I like that it is a self paced course and you are able to repeat lessons as often as needed. It is a mastery based course and you are not supposed to try and move on to a new lesson until you completely master the one you are working on.  That can get tedious, but will help in the goal to be able to type more efficiently.

I have seen an improvement in my typing skills since I have started to use the program.  I confess that I do really well when I am practicing in the course keeping my fingers on the correct keys, but when I am typing something else (like this post) I tend to revert back to bad habits.  That is something I will need to keep working on! 

I would like to have my older children take this course before they start to develop bad typing habits.  I think typing is an important skill that everyone can benefit from learning. To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors

The Pencil Grip, Inc
Back in 2015, I was approached by The Pencil Grip, Inc. to do a review of Kwik Stix, solid tempera paint sticks.  We loved painting with Kwik Stix to create mess free art projects. I was so impressed with them I even bought some to give as gifts.  I was very excited to have an opportunity to review the brand new Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors.

Thin Stix by KwikStix
Thin Stix are solid tempera paint sticks that allow children to be creative with little mess involved. Thin Stix look and feel like paint.  They can be used on paper, poster board, wood, and more.  You do not need to any water to use these paint sticks.  All you have to do is uncap, twist, and paint.  The paint dries very quickly, in around 90 seconds. The Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors includes yellow, red, green, blue, brown, and black.

My girls (6 and 8) love to draw and paint, but they are not very good at cleaning up after themselves. When they paint with regular paints, they often leave their cup of water on the table and the cat knocks it over and makes a big mess.  The girls and I were excited to see the Thin Stix arrive in the mail.  They ripped the package open and went to grab a stack of paper so they could start making beautiful pictures! 

The colors of the Thin Stix are very bright. They go on the paper very smooth.  They really do dry very quickly which is fantastic if you are doing art work with children that has to be transported some place.  I would never have my Sunday School class or 4 H Club paint with regular paint because of worry about mess and also because the paint would not have time to dry.  But with Thin Stix neither of these things are a problem. 

My 4 H Club is working on a community service project this week.  They are making cards to send to children that are in the hospital.  Here is one of the sample cards we made using the Thin Stix to paint the picture.

Children can paint all the way to the edge of the page and you do not have to worry about them making a huge mess.  If they do happen to paint off of the paper all you need is a wet rag and it comes right off.  Soap and water takes the paint off of skin easily.

In case you are wondering about the difference between the Kwik Stix and the Thin Stix, here is a side by side photo of the two.

When we reviewed Kwik Stix, we commented about how much we loved them but that they were not easy to use for finer detail. With the Thin Stix, you are able to do thinner lines and paint in smaller spaces. 

You can paint on many types of surfaces.  Thin Stix works on different types of paper, poster board, canvas and wood.  We discovered that they also work great on rocks.  I thought she was going to paint a design on a rock but she wanted it to be completely covered.

We have had a lot of fun using our Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors! The Pencil Grip, Inc. also carries several different products including pencil grips and therapeutic toys. 

To see what my Crew Mates had to say about Thin Stix, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 34

This is the last week I am counting in our 2016-2017 school year!  I will post last day of school pics next week and write a general wrap up of our school year.  We will continue doing some school work over the summer and for those who are interested in reading about what we are up to I will write weekly posts talk about what we did during the week.

My husband was out of town this week.  He was only gone three days, but Monday (the first day he was gone) was our 18th wedding anniversary.  I was very sad that we could not be together that day but am so thankful for the 18 years we have had and look forward to many, many more.

the pretty roses and bear he sent me

The children and I went to the greenhouse Monday morning to buy some flowers and some vegetables to plant.  I have never planted flowers in front of my porch before, but have always wanted to.

the playhouse at the greenhouse

Tuesday my brother would have been 41.  I miss him so much, but look forward to the day when we all will be together again.

The girls had gymnastics on Tuesday.  They have one class left next week.

Chelsea came over and babysat for me Tuesday night because I had to take Nick to a meeting.

Friday we had an end of school year picnic and then had to run Chelsea to the doctor.  Later that evening Alex's soccer team had a pizza party.

Sunday the wonderful ladies at my church gave Chelsea a baby shower.  Only a few weeks to go!

Week 34 in our Homeschool

Bible: We finished reading the gospel of Mark this week.

P.E.: We rode bikes one day this week.  I think planting the garden should count for a couple of days of P.E. too :)

Poetry: We finished memorizing Some One by Walter de La Mare.

Read Aloud: We finished Heroes of History Orville Wright and Captain Absolutely. We started The Adventures of Rush Revere (upcoming review.) In the evening we are reading The Crown of Kuros.

History/Latin: We completed lesson 3 of Latin Christiana.

Science: Gardening and caring for chickens and rabbits counts as hands on science this week.

Language Arts: Christian and Anthony did 4 lessons in Readers in Residence.  They finished their cursive handwriting books.  They also are working on the reading section of k5 completing one lesson a day.  The girls are working on it as well but they do more then one lesson per day. Alex completed week 2 of Lightning Literature 8.

Spelling: Christian and Anthony completed Step 9 of All About Spelling Level 4.

Math: Alex completed a quiz and three lessons in UnLock Pre-Algebra.  The 4 younger children did at least 4 lessons in K5 and 4 lessons in MLFLE. 
She was supposed to be going to bed

MFW K: She finished B for Butterfly.

And learned to ride without training wheels

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Captain Absolutely

Focus On The Family

My 10 and 11 year old boys love super heroes and comic books.  We were excited to have an opportunity to review Captain Absolutely, a super hero comic book with a Biblical message, from Focus On The Family.

 Captain Absolutely
Captain Absolutely is a 105 page paperback comic book with thick glossy pages.  It originally was written for Focus On The Family's Clubhouse Magazine and is a spin off of their Adventures in Odyssey series.  This is not your typical super hero comic book. It deals with the difference between God's absolute truth  and standing up that truth in a world that believes that truth is relative.

In this story, Bibles are banned.  But after a library explosion, Josiah King takes cover in a room full of Bibles.  With nothing else to do to pass the time he starts reading.  What he didn't realize was that a radioactive core was leaking and gases were filling the room.  Captain Absolutely was born, a super hero that shared God's truth and protected Metropolitanville (a city with no sense of right or wrong), from foes such as Dr. Relative, Fear Chemist, Unifier, Baron von Confuser, Cap'N Crastin, Farmer Vile, Sloppy Joe, and Edward Snooze.  Later on he gets s sidekick.  Hana, a young lady who thought she was the last Christian helps Captain Absolutely. 

I read this comic book aloud to my 10 and 11 year old boys, splitting it up into several different days.  I am not a comic book person, but I knew this was something my boys would like and I wanted us to read it together.  They are not familiar with Adventures in Odyssey or Clubhouse Magazine so this was the first they have heard of Captain Absolutely.  They loved the colorful and eye catching graphics in Captain Absolutely.  We all loved the story.  I love seeing a comic book with such a positive message and no worries about any inappropriate content. Children will easily relate to the lessons in Captain Absolutely as they deal with situations we all are familiar with such as fear, loneliness, feelings of isolation, stories on TV being twisted, being drawn into the lair of distraction,  and more.  I also thought the section on personal hygiene was a nice touch.  Children will learn about different worldviews and how those beliefs impact how you see life. I love that there was Scripture and the Scripture references throughout the comic. 

Anthony 11, says , " I love that Captain Absolutely defends Truth, Justice, and lots more truuuth! My favorite part was the part in the library at the beginning turns into Captain Absolutely and when the people come in to rescue him they say, "It looks like he's here to rescue us!"

Christian 10 says, " I love that he quotes Scripture.  My favorite part is when he captures Dr. Relative, disables the Lirus and returns the stolen computers."

In the back of the book you will find a list of all the characters, their worldviews, other information such as super powers, inventions, tools, contraptions that the character uses, along with a description and a Bible verse that relates to that character.  I think that would have better at the beginning of the book, but I was very glad that it was included. You will also find a Big Questions section that you can use for a springboard for discussion with your children.

We would love to see more volumes of Captain Absolutely!

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Homeschool Rescue

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

Are you a homeschool mom who is feeling burned out or like your homeschool needs a reboot?  Heather from Only Passionate Curiosity has a brand new course for homeschool moms called Homeschool Rescue that might be just what you need to get your homeschool back on track.

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue
Homeschool Rescue is an online course for homeschool moms.  Each lesson has a video to watch plus downloadable homework assignments.  Purchasing the course gives you lifetime access to the content. You can work through the course at your own pace, or there is an option to join the Homeschool Rescue Facebook group and work through the course in a group setting that starts on June 1st and ends on July 31st. 

The Homeschool Rescue course must be purchased by May 31st for the summer session, even if you are going through the course on your own. The course will be offered again later in the year when  the FaceBook group works through the course again.  Cost of the course is $97 and includes lifetime access to the ecourse, 20+ videos, worksheets, audio files, group "live-course" experience from June-July, access to the Facebook community, and bonus planners.  You also have the option to spend $137 to have access to all of that plus three one on one coaching sessions with Heather.

The Homeschool Rescue course has five lessons with each lesson containing different modules. The first lesson starts with trouble shooting your homeschool and covers topics such as dealing with common homeschool struggles, finding a homeschool community, how to determine real goals for your children, and how to stop comparing your children and homeschool to others.  The second lesson discusses time management and organization and talks about why and how you should say no, where all your time goes, setting up your homeschool to be productive by designing a routine that works, and setting up your children to work independently.  The third lesson talks about curriculum and will help you learn how to troubleshoot curriculum choices, make your curriculum work for you, and stop putting off hands on learning for another time. The fourth lesson covers setting your students up for success and discusses topics such as teaching children to complete their chores and their school work, setting rules your children will follow, choosing consequences that will work for your children. and encouraging positive attitudes.  The last lesson is on teaching older students and talks about keeping open communication, teaching teens to pay attention to details, and time management skills.

I have been homeschooling for 12 years.  I have children ages 6-20.  My oldest graduated 3 years ago.  I am comfortable in my homeschool routine and not in a place of burnout or crisis.  But the Homeschool Rescue course still appealed to me when I was given an option to review it.  Why? I think that no matter how long you have been homeschooling or how much experience you have in something there are always things that can be learned that can help you make positive changes.  There are days that we all struggle and there are certain areas that are harder for us to deal with that we can use some help in. I am terrible at time management so that was one area that I was very glad to see that this course covered.  (I am also one of those people who have a terrible time saying no.  If you are too make sure to watch the video "No is Not a Dirty Word!") I have been working through this course completing a couple of lessons per week.

Using the course is very easy.  Once you sign up and have your log in and password you head over to the course homepage. 

Click on the module and you will see the different lessons.

Click on the lesson you need.

Then you will see the lesson video, downloadable homework, and links to additional resources. 

The videos vary in length.  Some are fairly short less then 15 minutes while others are around 30 minutes.  The homework assignments also vary in how long it will take you to complete them.  They are not very long but do require some thought and being honest with yourself.  I thought the bonus planners were a nice addition to the course.

The Homeschool Rescue course is full of practical tips and advice.  Some of it you may know already but it's helpful to hear it from someone else.  Heather does not prescribe a one size fits all solution to homeschooling but instead offers ideas to get your homeschool running more smoothly.  I like that you can work through the course at your own pace and that you have lifetime access to it.  Others may enjoy going through the course along with others via the Facebook group.  I appreciate that Homeschool Rescue offers both options.

I have been blessed by Homeschool Rescue!  It has caused me to take an honest look at some of the things that need to be changed in my homeschool. To see what my Crew Mates had to say stop by the Crew Blog!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 33

Next week will be the last week I count in our regular school year.  We will still be doing some school work all summer long.  We will definitely be working on math and continue with Bible study over the summer.  We are will finish the section in Readers in Residence on Sarah Plain and Tall before putting that aside until next year and we have several reviews that we will be working on over the summer.  But our summer schedule changes and is much more relaxed and we will be taking some time off here and there.

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 33

Bible: This week we read 4 chapters in the book of Mark.

P.E. We rode bikes one day and ran one other day.  The other two days we took off because I did something to my knee, not horrible but not good enough to run.

Read Aloud: We read 4 chapters in Heroes of History Orville Wright for our morning read aloud.  In the afternoon I am so happy to announce that we finished Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer! We started reading Captain Absolutely, a comic book review from Focus on the Family.  In the evening we started reading The Crown of Kuros Book 4 of the Terrestria Chronicles.

Christian and Anthony have been very interested in learning about flight.  They had some money saved up and both bought some nano drones.  They are really small and green and black.  Anthony's crashed into the back yard somewhere about an hour after he bought it.  We have not been able to find it.  Christian has been flying his everywhere, but after he flew it behind me and it got stuck in my hair I told him to save it for outside.

Poetry: We are memorizing a poem called Some One by Walter De La Mare.

History/Latin: We completed lesson 2 in Latin Christiana.  To go along with that we read Numa Pompilius in Famous Men of Rome.

Nature Study: Our butterflies hatched this week!  We had 5 caterpillars and 5 painted lady butterflies.  We kept them in the habitat for 2 days, feeding them flowers with sugar water and fruit.  When we set them free, three flew off immediately but two hung around for awhile. 

Art: We were supposed to do Hidden Butterflies from ArtAchieve, but my girls used every single piece of paper in my house, even my computer paper for different crafts they were doing.  I bought some while we were shopping Friday so we will do our art project next week.

Science: Our chickens are 4 weeks old now.  They were flying out of their box so it was time to move them outside into a new pen.  As they get a little bigger we will move them to a bigger pen.

The new bunnies head for the woods every time they are let our of the cage, so the girls wanted some kind of leash to walk them on.  They are still a little small for the harnesses I bought and the rabbits are really not excited at all about wearing them but the girls like them.

Language Arts: Christian and Anthony did 4 lessons in Readers in Residence.  The girls have been using K 5 Learning every day this week.  Christian got his assessment finished for k 5.  Alex started working on week 1 of Lightning Literature 8.  This is an upcoming review.  I have used several levels of Lightning Lit in the past and have loved every level we have used.

Spelling: Christian and Anthony finished Step 8 of All About Spelling Level 4.

Math: Anthony did some k 5 Math and completed 4 lessons of MLFLE.  Christian did the k5 math assessment and 3 lessons in MLFLE.  The girls have also done some k 5 math and 4 lesson in MLFLE.  Alex started UnLock Pre-Algebra and completed 2 lessons this week.  Nick took a final exam for geometry.  He has completed all of his work for this year except science and his computer class.

MFW K: Emmie completed the lesson on J for jewel and read the story.  One day she decided to copy a verse out of the Bible all on her own.  She did a really good job!

Other Activities this Week:

Tuesday was B day.

Friday we had several errands and Chelsea and Cody came over for pizza and a movie.

Saturday we went to a catfish derby.  We usually catch a bunch, but Alex only caught 2 catfish, Lily and Anthony both got a bass, and Christian and Nick caught a sunfish.  The others out there fishing did not catch many either.  All of the children got a small door prize for participating.

We spent the rest of the day doing outside work.

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!